Coastal razor clam lovers hope to ring in the new year with a possible dig Jan. 7-9. "The good news is these first round of (marine toxin test) results indicate that all beaches...

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Coastal razor clam lovers hope to ring in the new year with a possible dig Jan. 7-9.



“The good news is these first round of (marine toxin test) results indicate that all beaches are below the action level, including Kalaloch,” said Dan Ayres, head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish biologist. “The last set of samples went to the lab (yesterday and) results are expected no later than (Monday).”



Testing for domoic acid Dec. 21-22 revealed all beaches were under the 20 parts per million (ppm) cutoff threshold. At Long Beach it was 2 ppm; Twin Harbors, 4; Copalis, 3; Mocrocks, 2; and Kalaloch, 17.



Low tides: Jan. 7, 0.1 feet at 4:01 p.m.; Jan. 8, minus-0.5 at 4:55 p.m.; and Jan. 9, minus-1.0 at 5:47 p.m.



Other tentative digging dates are Feb. 5-7 and March 6-8.



“We expect that we will have sufficient clams remaining in our (total allowable catch) to offer several days of harvest on all beaches during April,” Ayres said. “There is the added possibility of being able to offer harvest on at least some beaches during May. This is again dependent on future toxin tests.”





Top spots of the week





1. Winter steelhead in Western Washington rivers:
“Our creel census taker on Queets and Clearwater rivers checked three boats with seven winter steelhead the other day, and that isn’t a bad outing,” said Scott Barbour, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.



“I’ve heard the Wynoochee is dreadfully slow,” Barbour said.



Barbour said the Humptulips and Satsop were slow for steelhead.



The northern coast continues to be the winter steelhead venue of choice.



“The rivers are all in good fishing shape, and fishing has been decent. But there are tons of people out here,” said Bob Gooding, owner of Olympic Sporting Goods in Forks. “The Soleduck is not red hot, but there are some nice fish. And I saw a 22-pounder come out of there (Tuesday). There are also some fish in the Hoh, which is still pretty silted up although it is plunkable.”



The two best coastal options are the Bogachiel and Calawah. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Lyre and Hoko should be turning on.



Closer to the Puget Sound region, the winter steelheading has been fairly good, and many say it is the best fishing seen in quite some time.



“I took my dad out on Christmas Eve and we hooked seven fish and landed four on the Skykomish; then I went out Sunday with two buddies, and hooked nine and (kept) six chromers,” said Bryan Nelson at Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville.



“After all the bad past seasons we’ve had (locally) it is really neat to see a great one this winter in the Snohomish system,” Nelson said. “Reiter has been good, and so has Tokul (Creek) and the Snoqualmie itself.”



The Skagit River has been unseasonably slow for steelhead, but fair for Dolly Varden trout. The North Fork Stillaguamish has been fair from Fortson downstream. The Green River is slow.



In Southwest Washington, steelhead runs so far are not living up to expectations in the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis.





2. Squid jigging in Elliott Bay and Puget Sound:
“If a person wants to get into the good squid jigging they better do it in the next month and a half because it starts petering out by February,” said Jerry Beppu, owner of Linc’s Tackle Shop in Seattle.



In Elliott Bay try Piers 86, 62 and 63, Seacrest pier in West Seattle and the pier south of the Seattle Aquarium. Good squid jigging can also be found at Des Moines, Edmonds and Les Davis piers.



3. Salmon in open marine areas: Since Central Puget Sound (Area 10) reopened, fishing hasn’t been as good compared with last month. Areas kicking out a few blackmouth: Kingston, Jefferson Head, Allen Bank off Blake Island, Manchester and Point Monroe.



The Tengu Blackmouth Derby in Elliott Bay went from good last month to “very little action on Sunday for 47 members as only two blackmouth (were) weighed in,” said Doug Hanada, Tengu Club president. “Large concentrations of bait remain off Harbor Island, but even the shakers (chinook under the 22-inch minimum-size limit) seem to have disappeared.”



Tengu results: 1, Sid Morton, 9-pound, 15-ounce chinook; 2, Tom Neu, 6-1. The Tengu Derby is held this Sunday, and Jan. 9, 16 and 23 at 7 a.m. Details: 206-324-7600.



South Sound (Area 13) fly anglers are finding decent action for resident coho near the Narrows Bridge, Point Fosdick, the sand spit west of Fox Island Bridge, and Purdy and Penrose state parks.



Chinook fishing is spotty in south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) and Hood Canal (Area 12), and both will close after tomorrow.





Other fishing spots



Rufus Woods and Lake Chelan: “Winter mackinaw on Lake Chelan is going great,” said Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Family Guide Service. “We have also caught jumbo kokanee and triploid rainbow (trout) near Chief Joseph Dam on Rufus Woods Reservoir.”



West Whidbey Island: Slow beach fishing for steelhead at Bush Point, Lagoon Point and Fort Casey.



Columbia River: Should find some fair sturgeon fishing below the Willamette River mouth, Gorge and from Longview to Portland.



Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com